General Science, Mathematics, and Technology


Are there any unsolved problems in mathematics?

The earliest challenges and contests to solve important problems in mathematics date back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Some of these problems have continued to challenge mathematicians until modern times. For example, Pierre de Fermat (1601–1665) issued a set of mathematical challenges in 1657, many on prime numbers and divisibility. The solution to what is now known as Fermat’s Last Theorem was not established until the late 1990s by Andrew Wiles (1953–). David Hilbert (1862–1943), a German mathematician, identified 23 unsolved problems in 1900 with the hope that these problems would be solved in the twenty-first century. Although some of the problems were solved, others remain unsolved to this day. More recently, in 2000 the Clay Mathematics Institute named seven mathematical problems that had not been solved with the hope that they could be solved in the twenty-first century. A $1 million prize will be awarded for solving each of these seven problems.


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